Wednesday, November 25, 2009

KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park

(Gordon Hessler, 1978)
Hessler, you idiot, you are sitting on a gold mine! You've got KISS with superpowers, you've got a mad scientist, you've got an amusement park - what more do you need? Don't try to blame it on the drunken fools in the band - their garbled loutishness gives the film the only entertainment value it's got, and even then they're stuck with the lifeless wide-shot compositions and stupid cop-show repartee. And you don't even allow them on screen for the entire first act! Anthony Zerbe's ostensible supervillain does nothing but sit at a video switcher and hang around with a great number of mimes pretending to be automatons - are we supposed to be impressed? And with the whole park to play with, the best you guys can come up with is to have Zerbe maniacally turn on the machines, spin them for a couple minutes, then maniacally turn them off again. With sponsors Hanna-Barbera leaving their thumbprints everywhere in the form of stupid cops and laser beams, it can't help but retain a lot of camp value. But they never could figure out how to put together a proper feature, and no movie containing this particular Gene Simmons performance has any right to drag this badly.


  1. "And you don't even allow them on screen for the entire first act!" Welll, that's more the fault of the screenwriter or producer than the director. Do I assume this was a video projection?

  2. Yeah of course. Of the European version, if you can believe that. It looked OK.

    In reality the whole tirade should be leveled at William Barbera. But one man CAN make a difference, if they're not broken and defeated...this shoot would have broken me, that's for sure.